Archive for the ‘NBA’ Category

Just giving a heads up to people who are subscribed to my blog site or visit it daily. My blog site was picked up by Sports Blog .net last week and with that happening, my URL has slightly changed and all of my blogs will be posted over there from here on out.

Sorry for any confusion or re-subscribing issues this may cause you guys.

UPDATE!!!!!! I NOW HAVE MY OWN WEBSITE!!!!! IF YOU WANT TO GET MY BLOGS, PLEASE GO TO WWW.HELMETANDPADSREQUIRED.COM.

Thanks,
David Johnson

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Bosh, James and Wade in Miami together? I dont think so.

We are two days away from the day that every Cleveland Cavalier, New York Knick, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks and New Jersey Nets fan has been waiting for. But if you are a fan of any of those teams, you are probably not happy with the reports that are coming out about Lebron James and Chris Bosh going to Miami to team up with Dwayne Wade.

Reports are saying that the mini NBA summit meeting between Wade, Bosh and Lebron that took place over the weekend went very well, but that Lebron hasn’t “bought in” to the idea yet. Supposedly he wants to entertain offers from other teams. Translation: “I want to play on a team where I can be the man and maximize my marketing potential.”

That is a positive sign for Cleveland, New York, Chicago, Dallas and New Jersey. Personally, I don’t see Lebron signing with the Heat at all. There is no way that lebron would play on a team with Dwayne Wade who is already a top five player in the league and has a reputation for being able to carry a team on his back to win a championship.

If Lebron and Bosh went to Miami and the Heat won championships. Lebron wouldn’t be looked at as the one who brought Miami to the promise land. Either Wade would get credit, or people would consider it as a group effort amongst Wade, Bosh and James.

Lebron needs and wants to be the “man”. He wouldn’t be the man in Miami. If Lebron doesn’t want to be the man, Nike does and is financially banking on the fact that he is. Nike has built Lebron’s image on the fact that he is the next big thing to come along since Michael Jordan. Not to mention all of the other companies who have given Lebron endorsement deals on the belief that Lebron is “The chosen One.”

People already question Lebron’s ability to make plays in big games like Kobe and Wade routinely does, and his ability to take a team to the promise land. How much of a hit will Lebron’s on the court image take if he teams up with Wade and Bosh? How is Nike and every other company going to market and sell Lebron to the world as being “the man” if he goes to Miami playing in Wade’s shadow?

Some would say that Dwayne would have the same issue as Lebron if this NBA marriage happens. But I would have to disagree with that idea about Wade. Dwayne has already built his reputation as a clutch player and has a ring. He can play with other superstars now and no one will question him nor will his on the court image take a hit.

The NBA, who is an individual star driven league, will have a hard time marketing Lebron as “the man” down in Miami. People view the Miami Heat as Wade’s team. The NBA relies on having top level superstars who battle against each other every night to create marquee matchups. Not along with each other.

Not only do Nike and every other company need Lebron to be “the man”, but so do David Stern and the NBA.

I don’t believe in conspiracy theories unless it’s the JFK assassination, but I wouldn’t be surprised if David Stern’s wallet got involved somewhere during this Lebron free agency signing period.

Bottom line folks, don’t get caught up in the soap opera mess that’s going on right now. Lebron’s decision is a little more complicated than what some people realize. Yeah he wants big money via a NBA contract and wants to win, but he also needs to continue to build and maintain Lebron Inc.

Kobe Bryant doing his imitation of Michael Jordan after last nights win over Boston

Unless you are a Quaker or you just got released from prison or the county jail this morning. You probably watched the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Boston Celtics 83 to 79 to win back to back NBA championships last night by outscoring the Celtics 30 to 22 in the fourth quarter.

I am not a Lakers fan nor am I a hater. L.A. winning last night doesn’t piss me off even though I predicted that the Celtics would beat L.A. in seven games. I can admit when I am wrong and eat crow and be gracious about it. I can also give credit when credit is due.

The Lakers did what I didn’t think they had the ability to do. L.A. beat a team that was mentally, physically tougher and more talented than they were. Out of all of the championships that L.A. has won since Kobe has been there, this one to me is the most significant one and makes me respect them more than I ever have.

So congratulations to the Lakers and the city of L.A. and their fans. I hope the city of L.A. and every Lakers fans around the world enjoys this championship for as long as you possibly can. I am sure Ron Artest and the rest of the Lakers are.

Ron Artest is probably still sitting in a club or lounge somewhere in L.A. telling stories of how the greatest basketball player that he has ever seen or played against was a dude named Mike Chathway from Queens Bridge, New York who went to jail or died last year; or how Michael Jordan said that he wished that he would have played against him (Artest) in his prime. I swear that boy isn’t right in his head, but I am happy for him for some odd reason.

Somewhere Kobe Bryant is doing what God only knows Kobe does during his off time when he isn’t doing lame commercials of him doing soccer celebrations, participating in photo shots of him wearing weird all white outfits or jumping over Ashton Martins driving towards him at 60 MPH. Maybe he is at home with Vanessa planning his next attempt to immolate Michael Jordan’s mannerisms as he did last night after the game by jumping on the scorer’s table with the ball in his hands holding up five fingers like Jordan did after winning his fourth.

I have always defended Kobe when people would say that he tries to imitate things that Jordan did and said during Jordan’s career. I never saw what people were talking about until last night. That Jordan like stunt that he did after the final buzzer really caught my attention. Kobe has become just as consumed as we are as fans when it comes to comparing him to Mike that he seems to think that he needs to act like Mike at times.

The one thing that Kobe didn’t do a good job of last night was imitating how well Jordan typically played in NBA finals games. Kobe was horrendous all night long except in the last two minutes of the game when he hit a big shot and grabbed two key rebounds to help the Lakers complete the comeback over the Celtics. When he wasn’t missing shots, or dribbling the ball off of his feet, he looked out of sync and frustrated at times.

A good example of how bad Kobe was last night was displayed in the second quarter when he got the ball at the three point line and had Rasheed Wallace in front of him about three feet away. Instead of pressuring Kobe, Wallace backpedalled to go position himself under the basket for a rebound and let Kobe take a wide open three pointer which he missed. He was that bad at times last night. Ignore the 23 points that Kobe scored and the finals MVP award he collected. Those points and MVP award are very misleading of how Kobe actually played last night.

Overall the Lakers didn’t play well at all. They shot poorly from the field due to the Celtics tough defense and poor shot selection from several Lakers players, and L.A.’s free throw shooting wasn’t anything to brag about either except for in the fourth quarter when they needed every point to win. Besides hitting key free throws in the last three minutes of the game, there only saving grace was their great offensive rebounding, and Ron Artest and Pau Gasol.

Ron Artest and Pau Gasol stepped up and played big throughout the entire game and were the ones who led the charge late in the third quarter to come back from a thirteen point deficit. Derek Fisher didn’t play extremely well last night but he came through with a huge three point shot in the fourth with two minutes remaining to tie the game.

Despite Kobe’s off night and the Lakers overall average to subpar play. Game seven was by far the best game of the series. At the same time this game displayed what the entire series had been all about; two good teams who at times couldn’t find a way to put it all together to play a complete game.

For three quarters the Boston Celtics looked like the team that we saw in games two, four and five. Then at times they looked like the team we saw in games one, three and six. Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett came to play and played well at times and so did Rasheed Wallace. But they disappeared in the fourth quarter when they were needed the most.

While the Celtics were playing like the team we saw in games two, four and five through three quarters of game seven. L.A. was playing like they did in games two, four and five and pretty much played like that the entire game. The game basically came down to which one of the two underperforming teams could make big plays down the stretch in the fourth quarter since both teams had reverted back to old habits in the fourth.

Five years from now when people talk about this game. They are going to talk about how great both teams played defensively and how poorly Kobe Bryant played in maybe one of the biggest games in his career to date. Some may mention how Ron Artest played big for L.A. all night, then thanked his psychiatrist and promoted his upcoming rap album during the post game interview.

However people choose to talk or remember game seven of the 2010 NBA finals. It will ultimately be remembered as the night that L.A. got revenge on Boston for the loss in the 2008 NBA finals. Once again, congrats to the Lakers.

Kobe Bryant after a game five loss to Boston

Here we are eight hours away from tip-off of game six of the 2010 NBA finals and the question that has been in my head for two weeks now is; what is Kobe Bryant’s legacy going to be at the end of this year’s NBA finals?

In today’s sports world, players are scrutinized and judged and in some cases pre-judged minute by minute with every shot, catch, pass, pitch, rebound, hit, touchdown or home run they do or don’t make.

Two months ago during the eastern conference semi-finals, a few members of the media started to comment or ponder about Lebron James’s legacy. Most people including myself felt that discussing or even trying to make a legacy for Lebron was very premature despite the fact that he has been in the NBA for seven years now. On the other hand, discussing Kobe Bryant’s legacy or trying to judge it is very much okay at this stage of his career.

Thirteen years, four NBA championships, one finals MVP, one regular season MVP and one gold medal later, most if not everyone would say that he has lived up to the expectations that were placed on him coming out of high school. Kobe has come a long way since the days of not being able to beat out Eddie Jones for the starting two guard spot on the Lakers, or shooting air ball three point attempts in the western conference playoffs.

Kobe’s legacy as it stands now is very impressive and one that many NBA players wish they had attached to their name. Although, no matter what Kobe does or has done, he is always compared to Michael Jordan and possibly will always be compared to Mike.

The Black Mamba has accomplished a lot in his career and has done some amazing things on the court that are Jordan like. But despite winning four NBA championships, MVP awards and a gold medal, most people feel as if he needs to win six NBA championships like Mike did in order to be like Mike.

People like to mention that out of Kobe’s four NBA championships, three of those were won when Shaquille O’Neal who is considered to be one of the greatest centers of all-time, was Kobe’s team mate. Kobe critics and NBA fans say that the reason the Lakers won those three championships were because of Shaq not Kobe.

Some question Kobe’s ability to elevate his team and not just himself to a championship level like Michael Jordan routinely did with his Bulls teams. Then you have those people who simply question his greatness. Yes Kobe is known as the game’s best closer, but compared to Mike, some if not most people say that Kobe isn’t on Mike’s level.

Back in the 2008 after the Los Angeles Lakers came up short of winning the NBA championship by getting blown out by the Boston Celtics in game six of the NBA finals. Sports fans around the country said “Mike wouldn’t have gone out like Kobe and the Lakers did. There is no way Mike would have gotten blown out in a closeout game in the NBA finals.”

Kobe vindicated himself by leading the Lakers to a NBA championship last year, but as I stated in a previous blog before game one of the 2010 NBA finals. Last year’s championship has somewhat been devalued in the eyes of many non-Lakers fans. The Orlando Magic were not a serious threat to the Lakers last year. This is the series that non Lakers fans around the world want to see. It has become Kobe’s moment of truth. People want to see if Kobe is one of the greats of the game or just a great player.

So to answer my own question of, what will Kobe Bryant’s legacy be after this year’s NBA finals?

In my opinion, if Kobe goes on to bring the Lakers back from a 3-2 deficit to win the NBA championship. His legacy will go from platinum to elite status and I would have to seriously think about where he ranks amongst the NBA greats. I wouldn’t put him above Jordan, Magic or Bird. But he would be in my top ten for sure.

If the Black Mamba comes up short this year, his legacy will take a major hit and the comparison to Michael Jordan will almost be blasphemy if it already isn’t to some people. I personally will consider him one of the greatest players of all-time, although I couldn’t put him in my top five or ten of greatest players of all time. He currently is and will always be the sugar free version of Michael Jordan to me. Losing championships in a watered down NBA doesn’t look good on Kobe’s resume if he loses this series to the Celtics. Unfortunately in this country a player’s legacy is based on many things, but the most important thing is championships.

Phil Jackson

“This team (Boston Celtics) has lost more games in the fourth quarter than any other team in the NBA. This team knows how to lose games in the fourth quarter.” – Phil Jackson

With the Los Angeles Lakers trailing by five to the Boston Celtics with 1:40 remaining in game five of the 2010 NBA finals. Phil Jackson called a timeout and attempted to motivate his team by channeling his inner Confucius and giving this fortune cookie type of NBA tidbit. This statement is true as to how the injury riddled Celtics played during the regular season, but this has not been the way that a healthy Celtics team has played in the 2010 NBA playoffs nor the NBA finals. Boston went on to discredit Phil’s statement by beating the Lakers 92 to 86 in game five of the 2010 NBA finals, taking a 3-2 lead in the series with game six and if necessary game seven to be played in L.A.

Throughout the night the Lakers had been getting out played and out coached by Doc Rivers and the Celtics. It was your typical Lakers performance where Kobe Bryant was doing any and everything he wanted as the rest of his teammates and Phil Jackson just sat around and watched. L.A. looked as if they were playing in slow motion during the entire game. The Lakers played with no sense of urgency or energy; they let the Celtics get to loose balls and deflect entry passes, and allowed the Celtics to score on lay-up after lay-up. Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and at times Nate Robinson did what they wanted to do anytime they felt like it, along with Paul Pierce finally having a breakout game by contributing with 27 points of his own as L.A. couldn’t find a way to stop him no matter who was guarding him.

As L.A.’s championship hopes and dreams were becoming a nightmare, the last thing Phil needed to be doing was dropping words of ZEN wisdom to his team. Instead, Phil should have been drawing up plays and finding ways to get other players involved. Not all players respond to the same type of coaching. That Zen stuff may work on Kobe or some of the other guys on the team, but some may just tune it and Phil out and probably already have.

I and many other people have always questioned Phil’s ability as an NBA coach. I have felt that he is a great leader of men and a great motivator, but as an X’S and O’s guy he leaves much to be desired. The fact that the vaunted triangle offense doesn’t even have a playbook and it’s an offense based on principles makes you wonder even more as to how good Phil is at drawing up plays. He may have won ten NBA championship titles as a coach in the NBA, but with the talent that he has had on many of his championship teams. Who couldn’t have done what he has done?

One of the major problems with the Lakers is that they seem to think that all they have to do is show up and they will win games. The lack of focus, motivation and discipline is what has plagued this Lakers team for years. The Lakers are a microcosm of what our society has become. Hardly anyone these days believes in working for anything, most people are always looking for some get rich quick scheme or trying to find the easy way to become successful in life. As the Lakers are finding out in this year’s NBA finals. Art often imitates life, and unlike last year, you can’t just roll the ball out on the court and expect to win.

With the series headed back to L.A., the Celtics are going into game six playing with house money with two games left and only needing to win one. While the Lakers have to win both games if they want to repeat as NBA champions. After game four I mentioned that the key to the Lakers hopes of repeating as NBA champions is Andrew Bynum. If people didn’t realize what I was saying after game four, I am sure that people can see what I meant after what happened in game five. To be honest thought I don’t think a healthy Bynum would have made a difference last night. L.A. just played uninspired and undisciplined basketball in every phase of the game. If the Lakers don’t get Kobe some help which they didn’t do last night, or wake up and play with a purpose. The Lakers will have lots of time during the summer to ponder what happened and agonize over how close they were to winning it all.

Not only do the Lakers need to “man up” and play solid basketball in game six. Phil needs to stop trying to philosophize during games and start coaching this group of under achieving players. I know that Phil Jackson won’t read my blog, but if you are reading Phil. Let me drop a little fortune cookie type of wisdom of my own which won’t come true like I said in my blog after game one;

“A Phil Jackson coached team has never lost a playoff series when his team wins the first game of a playoff series.” – David Johnson

Big Baby carried Nate Robinson and the rest of Celtic team in the fourth quarter

I am going to try to keep this blog entry short and sweet although I have yet to write a short blog. There isn’t really much to discuss about game four of the 2010 NBA finals that hasn’t already been said in games one thru three. Seems like after every game we are discussing the same players not doing what they should be doing or praising them when they did perform how they were supposed to. As I watched game four, there was one monumental move in the game that was something that hadn’t happen in this series and is worth discussing. It was the move that Doc Rivers made or didn’t make in the fourth quarter. It was a move that could have majorly backfired on him and have the whole city of Boston as well as the rest of America asking why?

With four minutes left in game four of the 2010 NBA finals, Doc Rivers had Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett at the scorer’s table ready to check in for, Nate Robinson, Tony Allen and Rasheed Wallace. The Boston Celtics had just taken a nine point lead in the game after scoring on their first nine possessions, but he felt that it was time to put his core group of guys back into the game. Boston’s quartette of Glen Davis, Nate Robinson, Tony Allen and Rasheed Wallace had done something that the starters had trouble doing in the first half and part of the third quarter. They began to trust each other and play with intensity on defense, and most importantly were efficient and effective on offense. Going back to game three, the Celtics had been stagnant on the offensive end of the court for seven straight quarters. During that stretch, Boston had made the Los Angeles Lakers defense look like the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons.

Doc recognized what was going on with his four reserves on the floor, so he motioned for Rondo, Pierce and Garnett to come back to the bench. This decision by Doc was a huge gamble but a great example of what type of coach Doc is. Celtic players have always said that Doc is the type of coach that trusts in his players and instills confidence in them by making decisions like he did last night. If the Celtics would have gone on to lose game four, we would be talking about how dumb of a move it was for him to ride with his reserves down the stretch. Instead it proved to be the right move and showed great intuition by Doc Rivers.

Kobe Bryant had been feeling it more than he ever had in the previous games in the NBA finals, and he had made some unbelievable shots in the second half. One thing that we have come to learn over time is that with the best “closer” in the NBA hitting shots like he was last night. Taking chances like Doc Rivers took are ones that usually backfire on you. Throughout the fourth quarter, Boston played in all out desperation mode as if their lives and careers depended on the outcome of that quarter. With Kobe doing what he was doing, going into game five down 3-1 was going to be like playing with fire for the Celtics. Kobe has yet to have one of his signature superstar type games in this series where he is flat out unstoppable. If Boston were to have gone into game five down 3-1 to the Lakers, this series would have pretty much been over. Kobe is known for being one not to mess with in “close out games”. He will end it and smile while doing it while everyone is in awe, and I am sure Boston was well aware of that last night.

Andrew Bynum looks on with Adam Morrison as the Lakers fall to the Celtics in game four

Boston was able to take advantage of Andrew Bynum only being able to play for twelve minutes in game four. Andrew had been playing extremely well in this series, unfortunately he had to sit most of the game on the bench due to his injured knee. Bynum not being in the middle for the Lakers made them vulnerable on the front line and Boston took advantage of the Lakers unfortunate situation. Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol had no answer for Glen Davis as he had his way with both of them and took over the game in the fourth quarter. If Davis wasn’t killing them down low then Nate Robinson was killing him with is penetration into the lane and scoring almost at will. Tony Allen had his moments offensively, but where he was really effective was on the defensive end making the Lakers guards settle for jump shots and/or low percentage shots.

Doc finally felt that with 2:51 left in the game, it was a good time to put Rondo, Garnett and Pierce back into the game. Pierce came in and hit a jumper that put Boston up 87-79 with 2:18 remaining, and scored on a lay-up that sealed the Lakers fate with 1:18 left in the game. While the last few seconds of game four ticked off the clock in the Celtics 96-89 win over the Lakers. I began to wonder what Celtics team will show up on Sunday. You can’t ignore the mistakes and issues in a win that you wouldn’t ignore in a loss. Although the Celtics had just played their most complete quarter since game two. You had to recognize that the Celtics success during the fourth quarter came from the backs of the reserves not their starters. Ray Allen struggled again as the starting five as a group still wasn’t able to get it together in this game. So what Celtic team should we expect to see in game five?

On the other side of the coin, you have to wonder if Bynum’s injury is going to end up being the Achilles heel for the Lakers and the down fall in them repeating as champions. Gasol has played great in this series and has been the best big man on the floor between both teams. But Andrew is the key to that Lakers front line and it shows how important he is to that front line every time he isn’t on the court. Whatever happens between these teams on Sunday, the winner of game five will win this series. I believe the Celtics will win game five and head back to L.A. up 3-2. It may be another ugly game like game four, but a win is a win no matter how ugly it is.

Until then, enjoy your weekend and be on the lookout for my Sunday sports notes blog entry by noon.

Lebron James

The countdown to the start of the 2010 NBA free agency period started long before the 2010 regular season ended or even started. Months before the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA championship last year, everyone was fully aware of who was going to be a free agent after the 2010 season and what teams had the most cap room available to sign one or two of the best soon to be free agents. Speculations as to what was going to happen to superstars like Dewayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Carlos Boozer began to circulate. Those players were intriguing to some, but the man that everyone was infatuated with as to what his future would hold, was Lebron James. Many consider Lebron to be the best player in the NBA (not me) and the idea of the possibility of Lebron leaving Cleveland to go play for a storied franchise like the New York Knicks became a wet dream for all NBA fans to relish in until July 1st of 2010. Lebron helped feed into this dream by flirting with the media and anyone willing to watch and listen by making double sided comments to certain questions, wearing Yankee hats to Cleveland Indians games, hanging out with Jay-Z, etc, etc.

Fast forward to today, and Lebron hasn’t stopped with the flirting and teasing. In fact it has gotten worse and to the point that he is pretty much deliberately campaigning for teams to approach him and make him an offer he can’t refuse. This having a meeting of the minds with Chris Bosh and Dewayne Wade to see what their intentions were is complete BS and flat out unprofessional. I don’t ever remember a player of Lebron’s supposed/media driven magnitude that has done something like this. Dude! Who are you to act as if you are someone who people in the NBA truly respect? Your no Michael, Magic or Bird. Now two weeks after this meeting of the minds with Wade and Bosh, he has done an interview with Larry King that aired on June 4th. He also came out and said that Cleveland has the edge amongst all the other teams in the league of keeping him. Really Lebron? Really?

I don’t know about you guys, but I am sick and tired of hearing about Lebron James almost on a daily basis. It has become downright unbearable to hear and see anything about Lebron James unless you are a fan of Lebron James or the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks or New Jersey Nets. Am I surprised that he is the lead story on Sportscenter every night except when a 2010 NBA finals game has been played? No! ESPN has become hands down the worst sports network on the planet with its un-fresh, non hip, cheesy and uninformed/one sided sports analysts and non informational shows. Anything Lebron does or says will get coverage from ESPN including when and if he brushes his teeth. If it wasn’t for Lebron James, I don’t think ESPN would have anything to talk about except maybe the New York Yankees. Some people would say that ESPN did the same with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. I beg to differ though because when Kobe and Jordan were at the peak of their career, ESPN was still somewhat of a good network and they found other things to discuss.

I am not blaming ESPN for the Lebron news all the time every time, he has nothing to do with what their small minded producers want to air day in and day out. It’s just that with the campaigning that Lebron has been doing for the past three months and ESPN. It’s gotten to a point to where you just want him to hurry up and sign somewhere so we can get back to discussing real issues in the NBA. You can call me a hater if you want, I really don’t care. Go put on your Lebron James jersey and shoes and sit down and enjoy a bottle of Vitamin Water XXX that’s endorsed by Lebron and stop calling me a hater just because I speak the truth.